Our threats are: PHI (Protected Health Information) potentially being stolen and used to blackmail the corresponding gov bodies and persons by either a man in the middle or an internal malicious cloud provider employee.

Our goal is: protecting the PHI from the security flaws in the public cloud, ensure the CIA triad (confidentiality is enabled thru encryption, integrity thru blockchain, availability via IPFS)

Our challenges are: securing the data properly in the public cloud, so that no bad actors from the inside or the outside can access them.

We have the following IT security architecture plan:


where M/TEXT is the proprietary document server, MS MA stands for the potentially malicious privacy-disrespecting cloud provider employee, Kunden IT-System is the on-premise customer IT architecture, Editor is a HTML5 App for editing the documents/templates itself, M/Workbench is proprietary document editor software, the VPN arrow thingy is not a Plex logo and represents a VPN tunnel, XML contains the PII and PHI, IPLD connects the Git, Blockchain and IPFS for using in the proprietary document editor software, the weird contraption around the PostgresSQL DB represents a proprietary encryption method (I know that it's bad to use proprietary encryption, but it's a given)

Let's assume we have our metadata for PHI stored as hashes in the blockchain, the actual PHI in IPFS. This is realized thru two connected smart contracts as shown in the scheme, where one only contains the "pseudo UID" and PII-hash without the PII itself and the other actually stores the IPFS URL for the PII and the PII itself.

Our questions are:

  • Is this architecture good enough for our use case?
  • Are there any general flaws in the Cybersecurity architecture?
  • Is it smart to use Blockchain and IPFS here?
  • Does it bring any flaws by itself?
  • 4
    Blockchain is the worst possible technology to use for health data. It couldn't be any worse.
    – MechMK1
    May 13 at 13:52
  • 3
    Do you really need a blockchain? multichain.com/blog/2015/11/…
    – A. Hersean
    May 13 at 13:59
  • 2
    Your architecture contains a HSM. You do not need more to ensure the integrity of important data (use it to sign data).
    – A. Hersean
    May 13 at 14:01
  • Blockchain is the wrong tool for almost anything. And as A. Hersean said, you already have the technology in your architecture to do this right!
    – Rory Alsop
    May 13 at 16:47
  • 1
    If you see academic papers about topic X, that primarily means that the researchers found funding that allowed (or required) them to work on topic X. It does not mean that X would be useful in practice. A few years ago, blockchain was a very good buzzword that helped getting funding. There are also some really bad papers in this area – really bad papers say “it would be possible to use blockchain”, acceptable papers say “we used blockchain”, the better papers say “given these security requirements, we analyzed whether blockchain even make sense”.
    – amon


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